The Legacy Continues
Metamora’s Natures Better Way Transitions to New Business Model
|Chuck & Judy Erkfitz|
After nearly 30 years, Natures Better Way of Metamora is closing its Metamora retail store and transitioning to a phone, email and website-ordering model. Not just a health foods store, Natures Better Way provides today’s highest quality herbal, immune and nutritional products from Nature's Sunshine and 4Life Research - the Transfer Factor company.
“It’s something Chuck and I considered doing for some time, and with his recent passing, the time felt right," says owner Judy Erkfitz. "We’ll still be servicing our many existing mail-order clients and taking orders by phone, by email, by regular mail and through our website’s e-commerce portal.”
Natures Better Way developed from the family’s 85-year history of involvement in nutrition and wellness and was originally founded by Erwin and Dagny Erkfitz, Chuck’s parents. In 1935, the forward-thinking Erwin and Dagny were introduced to ideas about natural health by Bernarr MacFadden and soon became friends and colleagues of other influencers in the field such as Paul Bragg; Lelord Kordel; Bernard Jensen, D.C.; Dr. Goodhart, D.C. and Victor Irons.
The couple started one of the first, if not the first, wholesale health food distributing companies in the country, Health Food Distributors (HFD), in 1939. Natures Better Way still purchases products from HFD. The couple owned and operated several health food stores in the Detroit area as well as several network marketing/direct sale health companies internationally.
Even when away from work, health was foremost in Erwin’s mind. In fall 1958, he decided to set the record for walking coast to coast from the Pacific Ocean at Los Angeles to the Atlantic Ocean at New York City.
Judy says, “Erwin completed the hike in 67.5 days, averaging 45 miles a day. He finished up walking through the streets of New York and finishing up his stroll on the Dave Garroway Show and later appeared on Gary Moore's 'I've Got a Secret' television program."
Also in 1958, he helped organize the Mackinac Bridge Walk and was one of the first two people to race across the Mighty Mac. The walk, now held on Labor Day, attracts thousands of walkers annually.
Erwin also achieved the publication of a book of his health-related poetry—and ultimately a legacy of local access to natural health products that will continue in Judy’s hands.